By HE Mr Archil Dzuliashvili
The following is the speech given by the Georgian ambassador to Egypt on the occasion of the signing by Georgia, Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova of the Association Agreements with the European Union on 30 June 2014.
I am honoured to welcome you today to celebrate the historic day for Georgia, the signature of the Georgia-EU Association Agreement, which includes Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area. On 27 June 2014 we have embarked on the path of the political association and economic integration with the EU. By signing the Association Agreement, we have moved to a new, essential level in our cooperation with the EU. European integration is not only a foreign policy priority; it has become the main direction for the domestic policy as well. Georgia will apply every effort to ensure the effective implementation of the Association Agreement.
Signing the Agreement in a short period of time after initialling, is a proof of the commitment of the Parties to enhance further relations. Through the Association Agreement Georgia commits to gradually approach to the best European political, economic, social and judicial standards, which will lead to the improvement of quality of life of the Georgian citizens, to economic growth, protection and further enhancement of the political and economic freedoms; strengthening democratic institutions and the rule of law; respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms; independence of the judiciary.
Being European is part of our national identity, which is based on the respect for common values – human rights and fundamental freedoms, tolerance, gender equality, open society, social equality, good governance, transparency… This means being committed to the endless strive towards democracy. That is why from the outset of regaining independence, Georgia declared the European integration as its foreign policy priority.
The history of Georgia has largely been the history of fighting to defend these very values. The country’s path towards the European integration was full of external and internal challenges, including economic embargo and military aggression from Russia. Despite this, Georgia steadily continues the way towards its European future. Our choice and commitment have made the European integration of Georgia irreversible.
The EU, being the most successful economic union, is the “peace project” as well. Georgia’s gradual economic integration on the EU’s internal market should also contribute to increasing regional trade and have a positive effect the regional stability and cooperation.
In this context, the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement with the EU has particular importance for Georgia. DC FTA is an important impetus for Georgia’s economic development. It is an important incentive for the Georgian business which, on its part, will create new jobs and contribute to social welfare.
The DC FTA will significantly increase the attractiveness of Georgia and create new business opportunities. Trade with the EU without tariffs, quotas and barriers to trade will significantly improve the business environment in Georgia and promote its stability, making the country more attractive for foreign investors.
The DC FTA creates endless opportunities to be exploited on the biggest and the most stable common market.
We should highlight that all these opportunities come hand in hand with challenges and here we mean the wide-scale reforms Georgia has to undergo on its path to the political association and economic integration with the EU. This requires strong efforts from the government, political parties, society and each and every one of us.
In the process of reforms Georgia has already achieved remarkable progress. I would like to especially highlight successful reform of the judiciary and fight against corruption. Georgia has adopted the human rights strategy and its Action Plan, as well as an anti-discrimination law, which is another step forward to building the democratic state.
Together with reforms aimed at strengthening democracy we have achieved significant progress in creating a free and open economic environment. International rankings serve as proof to the above-said.
We firmly believe that Georgia, with its strategic location, transit and investment potential will make its contribution to the development of world trade.
In the end, I would like to underscore once again, Georgia’s aspiration to re-establish itself as the worthy member of the European family. The Association Agreement will bring Georgia ever closer to the EU, but at the same time, we agree that the Association Agreement is not the final goal of our cooperation. The Agreement will assist Georgia in making our country’s European perspective a reality.
HE Mr Archil Dzuliashvili is the Ambassador of Georgia to Egypt.